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December 7, 2015

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AB InBev drives change for road safety in Shanghai

BREWER Anheuser-Busch InBev launched its latest mini movie in China, starring sports stars Yao Ming and Liu Xiang to drive the safety driving awareness on December 2, this year’s National Traffic Safety Day.

It’s also the fourth year AB InBev launches the mini movie in China, and Michel Doukeris, zone president and CEO of Asia Pacific at AB InBev, said the company is aiming to enhance the campaign in order to tackle more traffic safety issues besides drunk driving through collaboration with local partners.

This year, the movie depicts several scenes where true friends are offering a helping hand in some special occasions, as the campaign is expanding beyond the drunk driving campaign to tackle general driving behavior issues.

“The efforts we’ve been making for responsible drinking in China has entered the 8th year and we’ve seen that the incidents for drunk driving have been reducing as an important stake holder AB InBev has been helping people improving driving behavior,” Doukeris told an interview with Shanghai Daily after the launching ceremony on Wednesday.

But he pointed out that drunk driving is only one of the cause for traffic accidents and that demands a broader approach to do more to help raise awareness on other issues.

More often, accidents are caused by people who don’t have the right type of advice on the street, the speed limit, the right place to drive the car, looking at their mobilephones instead of paying enough attention to driving, he noted.

“We’ve decided to make an impact on something that is bigger which is driving behavior not only because it’s a huge cause of death worldwide, but also because traffic collisions are estimated to cost more than US$500 billion per year.”

Last year, AB InBev initiated the Together for Safer Roads (TSR) innovative coalition which is focused on improving road safety and reducing deaths and injuries by road traffic collisions.

Its global founding members include AB InBev, AIG, AT&T, Chevron, Ericsson, Facebook, IBM, iHeartMedia, PepsiCo and Walmart.

“We’re grateful that in Shanghai we’ve got the support from the government, universities, the China Alcoholic Drinks Association, and from the traffic police bureau and we’re thinking of Shanghai as a pilot for TSR to drive the campaign globally,” he added.

Road traffic crashes are the 8th leading cause of death worldwide and the No.1 cause of death for 15-29 year olds and the World Health Organization of the United Nations estimates this will become the 5th leading cause of death by 2030 without proper intervention.

Doukeris said the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility comes from the very top, and each year it invest about 3 percent of its marketing budgets to support CSR campaigns.

“But it’s not only about spending money, it’s also about engagement and participation from employees at every level, support the legal drinking age and we believe it’s the right thing to do should support this cause.”

Doukeris himself also starred this year’s mini movie where he played designated driver for the other two stars Yao Ming and Liu Xiang, but he joked that “It’s a lot easier for me to drive than to go to the shooting scenes.” “It’s also a showcase of what we often talk in the company, to ‘lead by example’ to show the true engagement,” he noted, adding that the big stars in the mini movie is really Yao Ming and Liu Xiang because they are bringing awareness and calling people’s attention.

“We’re not only a company that produce and sell beer, but also a part of the community and we need to engage in actions where we can have impact that goes beyond our own business as well as mobilize people in making a good cause and have a positive impact for the community,” Doukeris added.

“By looking at the problem from a broader perspective, we’ve decided to enhance our drinking and drive campaigns and start to talk more about safe driving behavior, and safer roads.” Looking forward on the future plans for TSR in Shanghai, Doukeris said the coalition aims to really make an impact in reducing the accidents and improving safe driving behaviors not only by raising the awareness but really transform the way people act everyday.

“I’m firm believer that Shanghai is the right place to make this happen if we manage to engage the stakeholders especially the government and citizens, we’ll make something of great impact,” Doukeris concluded.


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